Brake Shoe - Wheel Cylinder - Drum Replacement

Step 13 - After completing the brake shoe and wheel cylinder inspection, identify the primary brake shoe spring. (Note: Some brakes utilize two primary springs.)

Primary Brake Shoe Spring

Step 14 - Using a pair of side cutters, grasp the spring and pull towards the brake shoe until released.

Remove Primary Spring

Step 15 - Once the spring has been released the opposite side will be easily removed.

Primary Brake Spring Removed

Step 16 - Next, use a pair of needle nose pliers to release the brake shoe hold down clips, one on each shoe.

Release Brake Shoe Hold Down Clips

Step 17 - After both shoe hold down or anchor clips have been released, grasp both brake shoes firmly and pull slightly outward which will allow the shoes to separate from the backing plate and wheel cylinder.

Remove Brake Shoes

Step 18 - Once the brake shoes are free from the backing plate, pull the parking brake cable spring downward and release the cable from the parking brake arm.

Release Parking Brake Cable

Step 19 - Now, the brake shoe set will become free from the backing plate.

Brake Shoes Removed

Step 20 - After the brake shoes have been separated from the backing plate, the wheel cylinder is now ready to be removed.

Wheel Cylinder

Step 21 - When replacing the wheel cylinder, use a line wrench to avoid damage to the fitting while removing the brake line. (Note: Brake fluid will be present.)

Remove Brake Line

Step 22 - Once the brake line has been removed, brake fluid will drip out of the line until the brake master cylinder is empty, a vacuum cap should be used to prevent the loss of fluid from the master.

Vacuum Cap

Step 23 - Next, use a wrench or socket to remove the wheel cylinder mounting bolts.

Remove Wheel Cylinder Mounting Bolts

Step 24 - After removing the wheel cylinder mounting bolts, grasp the unit and separate it from the backing plate.

Wheel Cylinder Removed

Step 25 - Once the old wheel cylinder has been matched up to the new part, insert the new unit into the backing plate and secure the mounting bolts.

New Wheel Cylinder


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2015-01-06)